Experts from DIY Network's hit show Hollywood Hi-Tech provide insight on how to set up the audio system in a home theater or media room.
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Make sure to hook up your speakers in phase, meaning whatever wire is attached to the red terminal at the receiver should be attached to the red terminal on the speaker; the same applies to the black terminals. Otherwise, your speakers will sound thin and diffuse.
Unless you have large front speakers with big, powerful bass drivers, you'll need at least one subwoofer to create the low bass. Subwoofers usually sound best when placed in a corner of the room, but experiment until you find a position that creates strong bass that isn't rumbly or boomy.
In larger rooms (at least 20' x 14'), it often helps to have at least one more subwoofer. The second subwoofer usually sounds best in the corner farthest from the one where the first subwoofer is located. Experiment until you find the best position.
Tips for Running Audio Cables
For the best sound quality, keep cable runs as short as possible.
Use at least 14-gauge speaker cable. (The lower the number, the thicker the cable.) For runs of 50 feet or longer, use at least 12-gauge cable.
Cables with metal connectors make a more secure connection with the speaker than ones with bare-wire ends, resulting in better sound. Most inexpensive speakers have spring-clip terminals, which are designed to be used with bare wire. But even spring clips will accept cables with pin connectors.
If you have multiple cables running next to each other from your receiver to your speakers, consider buying a sleeve from a company like Monster Cable to give them a neater appearance. The sleeve bundles the cables together, making them easier to route and manage.
If you have basic carpentry skills, consider running the cables behind your baseboards and under your door sills. (Make sure to use wire rated for in-wall use.) Most home and electrical supply stores sell wall plates for feeding cables through the baseboard.
Information courtesy of Roberts Home Audio and Video.
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